October 11, 2015

Elaborate NYT graphic makes me think something quite different from what they want me to think.

"Here are 120 million Monopoly pieces, roughly one for every household in the United States," says the text, and we see a large pile of green Monopoly "houses" (blocking the view of the White House), and when we try to scroll down, the screen zooms in, and we see a few red Monopoly "hotels" on the top of the pile. The text changes to: "Just 158 families have provided nearly half of the early money for efforts to capture the White House."

This is a great graphic. Loved it. But it got me thinking, and I read this:
They are overwhelmingly white, rich, older and male, in a nation that is being remade by the young, by women, and by black and brown voters... Now they are deploying their vast wealth in the political arena, providing almost half of all the seed money raised to support Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control, contributed $176 million in the first phase of the campaign, a New York Times investigation found. Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago.
Now, first of all, we're talking about spending money on speech, that's what Citizens United "legalized." I'm putting "legalized," in quotes, because what the Supreme Court did in Citizens United was to perceive the existence of a constitutional right, a right to spend money on speech. These are not contributions to the presidential campaigns, but companies [in Citizens United and families and their companies in the NYT study] spending their own money to get their opinions out into the marketplace of ideas, just as The New York Times corporation spends its money to get its ideas out, including its idea that there's something spurious about corporations engaging in political speech.

And, second, if we're talking about families — 158 families — how are they "overwhelmingly... male"? Are there a lot of gay men spending this money or just heterosexual couples who somehow produce far more sons than daughters? Or is it that the NYT is operating within the old stereotype that sees a family with a man in it as headed by the man?

That said, what I really want to talk about is that pile of Monopoly houses, far, far outnumbering the hotels. There are 120 million households, and 158 spend half of what is  spent, and amount that's only $176 million. If all of the households gave just $5, that would be $600 million, vastly overwhelming those supposedly fearsome, overspending, rich, white men. That money could be given directly to that candidate (since it comes, obviously, nowhere near the limit).

Instead of complaining about 158 families spending $176 million (which strikes me as a fairly paltry amount, especially since only $2,700 can be given to a candidate), the clamor should be about the need for everyone to give just a little money to someone. Skip one cup of coffee, one cheeseburger, one movie, and give the money to the candidate you like best. It could be so easy.

And yet bitching about those terrible rich people — those terrible male white people — serves other political interests... interests that the rich white males who own The New York Times have a constitutional right to push with all the powerful rhetoric and lovely graphics they can muster.

ADDED: Why did the NYT draw the line at 158 families? Why not analyze the top 150 families or the top 200? I can't help feeling that the Times drew the line where it would make the other facts seem most dramatic. We're told they contributed "nearly half of the early money." Why not draw the line at exactly half? If we included the next 10% or 20% or 30% of the early money, how many families would we see and how different would the conclusions have to be?

UPDATE: Power Line links to this post and says:
The rich people who own the New York Times, and the reporters and editors who work for them, are very clear about their own First Amendment right to devote corporate assets to weighing in on the issues of the day, but they are eager to deprive everyone else of the same right, especially those who don’t agree with their far-left perspective....

What the New York Times really objects to is diversity. The only way to get free speech nowadays–diverse free speech, anyway–is to pay for it. Thank God there are a handful of people with the means and the will to do so.
And Jaltcoh, at Facebook, quotes my statement — "if we're talking about families — 158 families — how are they 'overwhelmingly... male'?" — and somebody suggests: "Single-person households that only contain men?" That makes me say:
If that's what it is, then I object to the use of the word "families." Has the NYT picked up the sentimentality of politicians, who continually talk about "families," as if single people didn't exist? The word "households" appears in the article, and I think anyone talking about demographics needs to notice the difference between "families" and "households" and be more careful.

85 comments:

khesanh0802 said...

Ann; Perceptive comments about the mind-set of the rich white men of the NYT.

Sebastian said...

Thanks. At the risk of sounding auto-sexist, I quite prefer this non-shrill lawyerly quasi-fisking over any fashion blogging or offended-feminist blogging or Bob-is-God blogging.

Carol said...

Query: why do white people hate themselves so much?

rhhardin said...

LUCY So, do we have a deal?
GEORGE No, I want something else from you.
LUCY No. I am fully aware of your reputation, and there's no way you're getting that. No.
GEORGE Getting what?
LUCY You know. The sex. That's not gonna happen.
GEORGE No, that would be nice. I promise to save your community center. On top of which, you can direct our pro bono efforts. That's millions at your charitable disposal.
LUCY I've spent my entire life working against people like you.
GEORGE Well, maybe if you work for me, you'll win occasionally. I need an answer, I'm afraid, immediately. Here is my direct number at the Grand Hotel.
LUCY You live in a hotel?
GEORGE Well, I own the hotel and I live there. My life is pretty much like Monopoly. And I know you wouldn't care, but I'll start you at $250,000.

Bay Area Guy said...

Althouse nails this one, good show Professor.

The NY Times is funny. Their motto is "all the news that's fit to print". They have several unwritten sub-mottos though. One such unwritten sub-motto is "We really, really, really don't like Citizens United! It's so mean!"

David Begley said...

$176m is a small cap stock. More money probably spent on Super Bowl ads.

iowan2 said...

The left really hates the constitution. I cant think of any part of it they wholly embrace.

madAsHell said...

They are overwhelmingly white, rich, older and male

I stopped reading.
Females generally out-live males. Females tend to keep a family around as well.


Paco Wové said...

It still astonishes me how devoted the New York Times has become to stoking racial and class hatred.

campy said...

The left really hates the constitution. I cant think of any part of it they wholly embrace.

The Abortion Emanation.

Coupe said...

Obviously Congressmen, Senators, and previous cabinet staff are out. These people couldn't manage a softball team.

We need someone who can manage the 1200, or so, secretaries of this and that.

Someone who can be trusted with 2000 nuclear weapons, and all the nations assets of land and foreign islands.

Hmm, list is short now, who should we elect as President?

John Reece said...

It's my understanding Citizens United has resulted in more union fundraising than corporate fundraising. Union funds go exclusively to Democrats while corporations split theirs between Republicans and Democrats, so Citizens United seems to be a plus for Democrats. So why are they complaining so loudly?

StoughtonSconnie said...

What struck me was the contention that the money was "mostly backing republicans", coupled with the statistic that 138 of the families backed the GOP, and 20 backed dems. But there were no dollar amounts attached to the contention, and that matters most. In 2014, soft money spent by lefty billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg outspent all other soft money combined, and it all went to dems. It doesn't matter a damn bit if rich families back the GOP 138-20 if the top two lefties outspend everyone else.

AReasonableMan said...

What is the difference between a large campaign contribution and a bribe?

Paco Wové said...

What's the difference between buying an advertisement on behalf of a candidate and free speech?

Paddy O said...

What's the difference between paying someone a grossly inflated speaking fee or book advance and a campaign contribution?

Coupe said...

AReasonableMan said...What is the difference between a large campaign contribution and a bribe?

Millions.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

"[The families] are overwhelmingly white, rich, older and male."

Gee. Didn't realize homosexual male marriage has been around that long.

Robert Cook said...

They're not paying for speech--although, even if they were, one can't really say there is real conversation when a very few dominate the information that is disseminated and the very many cannot offer their own views (or get their views heard), or cannot hear contrary speech or information to help them shape their own opinions as to what policies or candidates may be the better choices for them.

What the few rich campaign contributors are paying for is access and obligation. Access to and obligation from the candidate/electee. The candidate who wins the nomination through the assistance of the campaign contributors who helped him or her become visible, and who then wins elective office from the continuing donations of big-money contributors, is beholden to his or her contributors. The donations are "favors" which those who are elected must repay. Trump himself made this point quite clearly. The elected are bought and owned by their campaign contributors, and these few rich contributors are the constituents who are served, while we, the people are completely ignored.

ARM asks: "What is the difference between a large campaign contribution and a bribe?"

A "large campaign contribution" is three words and obscures the truth; "bribe" is one short word and is as unambiguous as a punch in the face.

rehajm said...

A $2 contribution form each of the other households more than offsets the rich ones.

They needed the fancy visuals to manipulate the effect of the data.

Ann Althouse said...

"What is the difference between a large campaign contribution and a bribe?"

A bribe is money given for the purpose of getting something when there's an understanding between the donor and the recipient that what is being bought will be given. That is, quid pro quo.

When you agree with the political positions and proposed policies and you give money to get that person elected, even when you're getting more access because you are a big donor and even where you think the politician will lean toward what you like in the hope of getting more money, that's not a bribe.

But it's hard to know when one becomes the other and even the appearance of buying influence is seen as significant enough to have supported limits on contributions. Those limits have been around for almost half a century and they've been upheld by the Court.

What's not allowed are restrictions on spending your own money to propagate speech in favor of candidates you like. The NYT and major media put out speech vastly in excess of that $176 million the 158 families have spent on speech, and the NYT completely expects to influence politics.

Paco Wové said...

"They're not paying for speech..."

Sez you. It's not speech in the manner you approve of, apparently, so therefore it's bad? In Robert Cook's Ideal Anarcho-fascist State, how do you plan to prevent people from speaking their mind?

AReasonableMan said...

Ann Althouse said...
the NYT completely expects to influence politics.


As does Murdoch, the WSJ and Fox News.

David Begley said...

If you want to know what a bribe looks like read "Clinton Cash."

MadisonMan said...

the NYT completely expects to influence politics.

As does Murdoch, the WSJ and Fox News.

So we're all in agreement.

EDH said...

Althouse nails it on the head.

What the NYT and the left fear, especially since the 2012 election, is that more of the green households eventually become engaged, and the ones that do tilt right.

Anglelyne said...

ARM: Ann Althouse said...
"the NYT completely expects to influence politics."

As does Murdoch, the WSJ and Fox News.


I'm sure AA, like, totally didn't grasp this killing insight about other MSM sources, when she made her observation about political speech and the NYT.

MadisonMan said...

Hmmm..

They claim 120,000,000 house pieces in a cone that is about 25 m in diameter and maybe 30 m tall. That means you can fit 24,000 monopoly houses in a cube one meter on a side.

I'm suspicious of that claim.

(All math is approximate -- except for the volume of a cone: pi*

jacksonjay said...

I don't remember a lot of hand-wringing back in 2008 when Obama, Axelrod and Co. completely exploded the public financing mechanism and went rogue. In fact, the NYT and the rest of the MSM went orgasmic over the number of "small" donations that Team Smiles received. They all knew that the small donations were rotten to the core.

Qwinn said...

Madison Man,

That doesn't sound far off. 30 hotels in a row cubed would result in 27,000 hotels. 30 hotels should easily fit in a meter.

William said...

I agree that rich white men have considerable influence over the policies and politics of the USA. I think that rich Mexicans have even more influence over the policies and politics of Mexico. It totally baffles me why. Mexicans should seek to live in a country run by men like Donald Trump rather than a country run by men like Carlos Slim. It's a conundrum.

YoungHegelian said...

That there is a problem with the "rich" funding a large part of the political process in this country has always struck me as a Marxist assumption, i.e. that folks of different economic classes have foundationally different interests. This assumption is often held by people who don't believe the other tenets of Marxism that lead to such a conclusion, but still find it a useful rhetorical tool.

But the question needs to be asked: are the rich really different than you or me, other than the fact that they've got more money? Are they pushing for policies that the largest part of the electorate find abhorrent? Do the rich all fund towards a certain end that enriches them further, or do they compete among themselves, thus negating their influence by intra-class competition?

I think if you look at the demographic data (e.g. folks who have between $1 to $15 million give heavily Repub, but over $15 mil, split between parties fairly evenly), the truth is the rich do not think different politically than you or I.

Birkel said...

"AReasonableMan" has invited us to list all the Left wing media to counterbalance FOXNews, the WSJ editorial page and National Review.

NYT, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, AFP, UPI, AP, BBC, ALT, WaPo, AJC...

And at this point I run out of pixels. The fact "AReasonableMan" can name all the allegedly Right leaning publications from memory puts the lie to his claim of political speech contributed by news outlets.

Melt the houses and they fit into a much smaller volume.

Some Seppo said...

Reminder the the New York times and lefties everywhere: Obama's Solicitor General argued in Citizens United that the unelected Federal Elections Commission could ban books within 3 months of an election.

Even the ACLU agreed with the Citizens United decision.



AReasonableMan said...

Birkel said...
"AReasonableMan" has invited us


to think rationally in the age of the internet. There is no right wing faction that doesn't have a voice on the internet consistent with the size of its constituency and the quality of their journalism. At the moment I regularly read Breitbart.com, it has by far the best coverage of Trump and the house speaker rebellion.

Achilles said...

AReasonableMan said...
"What is the difference between a large campaign contribution and a bribe?"

Not much.

But if you limit campaign contributions you don't remove money from the equation, you just change where it goes and who is in control. Creating a new bureaucracy to determine who is following campaign finance rules just empowers more bureaucrats. The IRS was already weaponized politically. This new bureaucracy would be chartered to repress one side or the other.

There is only one way to stop government corruption and that is to take power away from the government. If the government doesn't have power in the first place it can't be bought by rich people. The biggest problem the country has right now is democrats are too stupid to notice that there party is as or more corrupt than the republican party.

Chuck said...

Yes, the language of "contributions" is deliberately vague on the part of the New York Times, and the Times knows it very well. The Times might try to defend itself by suggesting that the large-money "donors" are indeed making contributions to independent 501(c)(3) corporations, which are then free to spend money on political speech that is not and must not be coordinated with any campaign.

But the deliberate misdirection on the part of the Times is to plant the seed of thinking in the mind of the public that these are all donations to candidates, who are then obligated to the special interests of their donors.

Professor Althouse has all of this exactly right in her excellent post and related comments. Law professors generally get it; although so many of them are liberals who hate the results in Citizens United v FEC and Speech Now v FEC. The public at large rarely gets it. They are easily misled by news-givers like the Times, telling them that these are all "contributions."

Citizens United and Speech Now will be enduring precedent, in that they are constitutionally rooted, and given that they are sensible observations on free speech. It is always the height of hypocrisy when corporate media outlets lecture on the dangers of corporate speech concerning politics.

Well blogged, Professor Althouse.

Michael K said...

"At the moment I regularly read Breitbart.com,"

There's hope for you.

""What is the difference between a large campaign contribution and a bribe?"

I dunno. I'll let you know what I get for my $25 to Carly. I'm going to bribe Ben Carson, too.

Obama did well by the Palestinians who sent him bribes.

Achilles said...

"Instead of complaining about 158 families spending $176 million (which strikes me as a fairly paltry amount, especially since only $2,700 can be given to a candidate), the clamor should be about the need for everyone to give just a little money to someone. Skip one cup of coffee, one cheeseburger, one movie, and give the money to the candidate you like best. It could be so easy."

The travesty now is that if you don't donate money to the political machine you will lose. It used to be that in this country you could ignore the federal government and not worry about it much. Now it is sticking it's nose in every aspect of our lives. It is taking more of our money than ever before. It is funneling more of that money to the politically connected than ever.

Pretty soon this $5 donation will be mandatory because the most politically connected people in the country are lobbyists.

Chuck said...

Let's add to the media outlets that are seemingly organized at least in part to counter the information coming out of the Fox News Channel, the Wall Street Journal editorial pages (and not even the entire paper!) and conservative talk radio...

three entities that are heavily supported by taxpayer funds, valuable broadcast licenses possessed by public institutions, and of course in lots of cases the facilities of public universities, public schools, and other public institutions...

I am speaking of course of NPR, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Eric said...

"These are not contributions to the presidential campaigns, but companies spending their own money to get their opinions out into the marketplace of ideas, just as The New York Times corporation spends its money to get its ideas out, including its idea that there's something spurious about corporations engaging in political speech."

I hate to quibble with Althouse but it's not companies spending money for the most part, it's individuals, hence the entire "families" theme.

Hagar said...

Democrats refuse to see politics as a contest between competing interests and insist on depicting themselves as champions of the underprivileged poor and defenseless.

The underprivileged poor and defenseless, however, remain that way, and the Democrats are now merely protecting their own privileged status.

Temujin said...

And yet they barely managed to mention Silicon Valley, a veritable funding arm of the DNC. Of course, Google is not a 'family' in the standard measure. Nor is Amazon, Apple, Intel, HP, Yahoo, or any number of other tech companies. With the possible exception of Larry Ellison at Oracle, the entirety of the tech world is a funding source for the DNC. How many hundreds of millions do you think that's worth? Or, how do you put a dollar amount on Eric Schmidt/google overseeing the tech aspect of the Hillary! campaign. (though, looking at it, it does make you question Eric's judgement).

But, at least the tech industry is not Rockefellers. Oops, Kennedys. Ooops, Heinz's. Oh fuck it.

cubanbob said...

AReasonableMan said...

What is the difference between a large campaign contribution and a bribe?

10/11/15, 10:13 AM "

Interesting question to ask Hillary!

cubanbob said...

Cook @ 10.30 came dangerously close to making a Libertarian-small government argument but never fear he won't get the irony.

Hagar said...

We spend more money on Halloween candy than political contributions. Of course, present day Democrats also want to ban candies and make us buy skimmed milk and arugula instead.

cubanbob said...

AReasonableMan said...

Ann Althouse said...
the NYT completely expects to influence politics.

As does Murdoch, the WSJ and Fox News.

10/11/15, 10:38 AM

The difference is Murdoch is a US citizen. Carlos Slim is not. So how much influence does an Arab-Mexican national have on the NYT and as the so-called paper of record how much does NYT influence the MSM?

sunsong said...

The Great American Class War: Plutocracy Versus Democracy

cubanbob said...

Temujin said...

And yet they barely managed to mention Silicon Valley, a veritable funding arm of the DNC. Of course, Google is not a 'family' in the standard measure. Nor is Amazon, Apple, Intel, HP, Yahoo, or any number of other tech companies. With the possible exception of Larry Ellison at Oracle, the entirety of the tech world is a funding source for the DNC. How many hundreds of millions do you think that's worth? Or, how do you put a dollar amount on Eric Schmidt/google overseeing the tech aspect of the Hillary! campaign. (though, looking at it, it does make you question Eric's judgement).

But, at least the tech industry is not Rockefellers. Oops, Kennedys. Ooops, Heinz's. Oh fuck it.
10/11/15, 12:13 PM "

It just goes to show you how stupid, timid and probably corrupt the Republicans are.
Just imagine what would happen if all of the benefits these companies give (along with large law firms and Hollywood)to their staff that ought to be taxed as income to their employees were taxed as such. Or put an immediate stop to H1B visas for several years and tightened the copyright laws to curb the abuses.

khematite@aol.com said...

Odd that once upon a time, liberals had no trouble understanding this basic point about free speech. From the dissent in US Auto Workers v. US (1957) by William O. Douglas, Chief Justice Earl Warren, and Hugo Black:

"Some may think that one group or another should not express its views in an election because it is too powerful, because it advocates unpopular ideas, or because it has a record of lawless action. But these are not justifications for withholding First Amendment rights from any group -- labor or corporate. Cf. United States v. Rumely, 345 U. S. 41. First Amendment rights are part of the heritage of all persons and groups in this country. They are not to be dispensed or withheld merely because we or the Congress thinks the person or group is worthy or unworthy."

traditionalguy said...

I blame Trump for exposing this as corruption. So I suppose the NYT guys all love Trump now.

The Times is pretty slow thinking for an Upper East Side readership.

Robert Cook said...

"In Robert Cook's Ideal Anarcho-fascist State, how do you plan to prevent people from speaking their mind?"

I suppose there's no better model than the one we currently have.

Big Mike said...

Take those hotels where the people donated to Jeb Bush and/or Hillary Clinton, and color them wasted.

Charlie Currie said...

I find what the NYT doesn't tell us to be the most interesting tell...

They tell us the number of households; 120 million
They tell us the number of households that have contributed half of all donations: 158
They tell us the amount of money that these 158 households have given: $176 million
They tell us to which party these 158 households have given: R 138 D 20
Which leads one to believe the R's have contributed far more than the D's...which is exactly what they want you the think...

But, what they don't tell us is how much money, exactly, the 138 R's contributed vs the 20 D's...

This tells me that the dollar amount is nearly equal, or the D's contributed more, which doesn't fit the narrative.

Sam L. said...

The NYT, which I do not trust.

Ann Althouse said...

"I hate to quibble with Althouse but it's not companies spending money for the most part, it's individuals, hence the entire "families" theme."

I agree, but the Times creates this incoherency by bringing up Citizens United.

Phil 3:14 said...

America is overwhelmingly white and older.

As for male:

"Households headed by single mothers earn less than half of what households with a married couple earn, or $32,597 compared to $71,830" I guess I'd recommend a simple solution, don't have kids till you get married.

Ann Althouse said...

I edited the post to respond to Eric's quibble and to make a couple more points about the use of statistics.

Achilles said...

Ann Althouse said...
"I hate to quibble with Althouse but it's not companies spending money for the most part, it's individuals, hence the entire "families" theme."

"I agree, but the Times creates this incoherency by bringing up Citizens United."

This is done on purpose. If the press and the Democrat party was honest about who is spending money to influence the government, who is being influenced by this money, and what they are getting in return for all this money it would destroy the Democrat party just like it is currently destroying the republican party.

There is a reason Obama got record amounts of cash donations. There is a reason he implemented policies that have benefited the wealthy. Obama is the most bought and paid for president in history. Hillary would make him look like an amateur.

Achilles said...

Robert Cook said...
"In Robert Cook's Ideal Anarcho-fascist State, how do you plan to prevent people from speaking their mind?"

"I suppose there's no better model than the one we currently have."

And your answer is to have a bigger, lawless, and corrupt state. Whenever the government fails the answer for you people is always more government.

Michael K said...

"Obama is the most bought and paid for president in history. Hillary would make him look like an amateur."

It was money well spent if we only knew the truth. Zero interest rates have made many fortunes and devastated the middle class but the middle class does not contribute much to politics,

Joe said...

This is a direct consequence of so-called campaign finance reform. An intended effect too, even if the the extent may have not been intended or envisioned.

What I can't figure out is who is more afraid of free speech; the NY Times or your average liberal politician?

Laslo Spatula said...

Excessive corporate campaign spending will be solved.

All identified problems get solved.

Or at least a solution is put in place.

Guess where you are in the diagram of these solutions.

I am Laslo.

Achilles said...

Laslo Spatula said...

"Guess where you are in the diagram of these solutions."

We know where we stand with the plutocracy. That is why they are trying to take our guns and why we wont let them.

BN said...

"Guess where you are in the diagram of these solutions."

The bar?

Anonymous said...

Michael K,

Your comment about donating $25 actually turned into $50 because I matched you. First time EVER I donated to any politician.

Read your comment and thought, you know, I am obsessed with politics but never sent a penny to anyone.

So here's to Carly and my virgin donation.

As a side note, Michael K, on almost every AA post I can predict on which side you will come down, but I can never predict what you will say or how it will make me go, Hmmm.

Lesson to Garage: you can be predictable yet surprising. Try it. Be more like Michael K and even Cookie and less than, well, yourself and Laslo.

Cheers

BN said...

Government isn't about solving problems. It's a protection racket, designed to collect and distribute money. No matter what form they set it up as, it's just a highly sophisticated mafia. We used to know that, and proclaimed a bill of rights to control it. But they've learned the art of coopting us. And we like that better. Show me the money.

The Godfather said...

That most of the Big Money contributions go to Republicans is what we are supposed to expect. All my life the people who already ARE rich (supposedly) contributed to Republicans who (supposedly) would let them keep most of their wealth. But nowadays we have rich people who want to get richer by having the government provide them grants and subsidies for favored businesses, such as "green" power. Are the number of "families" that are trying to milk the federal cow really such a small percentage? How about all those gazillionaires all around the world who have contributed to the Clinton fund? Where do they show up in these figures?

PWS said...

Question: Should the NYT not report the story at all or is it the *way* it is reported that you seem to find objectionable? Is the flow of money in politics news worthy? Ann, how would you re-write the lede?

Douglas said...

Vox pointed out that the reason there are more GOP donors than Democratic voters is that there's a hot race going on for the GOP nomination and the Democratic race is still pre-ordained. You might even think the NYT deliberately omitted this point.

iowan2 said...

The campaign finance cleans up very quickly. Just return congress to their constitutional enumerated powers. Guess what. no power, no bribes. The job of govt will go on.....at the state level. Much harder to go after legislatures in 50 different states.

Jon Burack said...

What's amazing to me is this concern about rich people buying elections during this current season. We have about fifteen Republican candidates, some never in politics before, all competing away. Some get gobs of money from the big rich and go nowhere (Jeb) or fade completely (Walker). Others rise in the polls even without a lot of money, or only because they themselves have lots of money. Obviously there is less competition in the Democratic Party, but there you have the super-rich and connected Hillary increasingly threatened, with a socialist nipping at her heels. Could you ask for an environment less explicable as bought and paid for by the 158 families whoever they are? Does Citizens United explain the crowded Republican field, and if so does it also explain the uncrowded Democratic field? Does it explain why those who benefit from it most are in some cases gaining no traction and others who benefit from it less are gaining traction? Or does Citizens United explain very little?

Robert Cook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Cook said...

"And your answer is to have a bigger, lawless, and corrupt state. Whenever the government fails the answer for you people is always more government."

If I wanted continuation of a lawless and corrupt state, I would happily vote for anybody running from either major party. Republicans or Democrats...it doesn't make any difference. The Republicans are more overt nitwits, trolls, and assholes, but the Dems are no less corrupt, no less servants of the plutocrats than the Republicans, so anyone voting for a Democrat or Republican is voting for continuation of our lawless and corrupt state.

Willy-nilly, we're not going to have a small(er) government, but a big government, given the size of our nation. The problem is less big government than it is BAD government, a government in thrall to the parasites who see themselves as the kings and queens of humanity; the thieves and conmen who view their own industry as sterling; the moral cretins who are certain they are the acme of humanity, unconscious (or uncaring, if conscious), that they are destroying this nation and the world.

eric said...

Prediction:

We won't be hearing this anymore if Trump wins. Because presumably, if Trump wins the Republican nomination, he'll be paying for his own campaign. I'm sure he'll accept donations, but because he has repeated so often that he can't be bought, it'll be the Democrats that will be getting all the older, rich, white, males donating to them.

And this will result in complete silence from the New York Times.

Achilles said...

Robert Cook said...

"If I wanted continuation of a lawless and corrupt state, I would happily vote for anybody running from either major party. Republicans or Democrats...it doesn't make any difference. The Republicans are more overt nitwits, trolls, and assholes, but the Dems are no less corrupt, no less servants of the plutocrats than the Republicans, so anyone voting for a Democrat or Republican is voting for continuation of our lawless and corrupt state."

Focus on the individuals and their actions. Our system has a gravitic function that lends to two parties.

"Willy-nilly, we're not going to have a small(er) government, but a big government, given the size of our nation. The problem is less big government than it is BAD government, a government in thrall to the parasites who see themselves as the kings and queens of humanity; the thieves and conmen who view their own industry as sterling; the moral cretins who are certain they are the acme of humanity, unconscious (or uncaring, if conscious), that they are destroying this nation and the world."

Oh the rage and the anger. You are several steps toward acceptance. But at some point you will realize the crux of the issue is that government can coerce, while free markets require mutual agreement.

The government ability to compel action will draw and create corruption inherently. The requirement of mutual agreement in the free market acts as a check against corruption that government action lacks.

Douglas said...

Eric - If Trump got the nomination, there is not the slightest possibility that he would pay for his own campaign. Even with all the free publicity that he garners, he would need several hundred million for GOTV and ads, and he doesn't have it.

Segesta said...

What was that? As a well to do white male, I was busy toasting Evil.

Deja Voodoo said...

David Begley said...
$176m is a small cap stock. More money probably spent on Super Bowl ads.


$331.8 million in 2014.
http://www.marketingcharts.com/television/super-bowl-2015-advertising-viewer-attitudes-and-spending-trends-50857/

Dark Avenger said...

Glad to see you're standing up for the right of white rich men to keep the system safe for white rich men.

megapotamus said...

Here's the simple fact that bedevils both Faust and Mephisto..... whether it is a candidate or a ballot initiative, the Big Spender wins only about half the time. There is definitely not just a law of Diminishing Returns at work but a hard upward limit, above which you are running ads for the other guy. Think Prop 8 where the spread was many multiples and included the open hostility of the California media entire. In the multiple repetitions of Eric Cantor's ignominious defeat we find that even the dirtiest of dirty tricks from the GOPe backfire at a certain scale. All that really seems necessary is that the more Rightward candidates or operations are just prepared for the attack without mercy. Yes, I know, they ALWAYS attack without mercy but the starry-eyed TEA Party types just don't want to believe it. They believe it now. If they were still as malleable as once were, you can bet The Squeaker would still be on his throne. Forward.

I Callahan said...

Forgotten in all of this talk about the rich and the poor are the original facts in the case of Citizens United. A guy wanted to make a movie about Hillary Clinton within 3 months of an election. The McCain-Feingold election law says no one can write or produce anything about a presidential candidate in the 3 month period before an election.

What part of "Congress Shall Make No Law" do the people who whine about Citizens United not understand? The rest of it is all academic.

Being straight about this: the fact that the NYT doesn't even touch on the law is by design. If the NYT had the stones (I'm being hypothetical here), they'd advocate for the repeal and re-write of the first amendment. At least that will have had the distinction of being an honest move.

I Callahan said...

Government isn't about solving problems. It's a protection racket, designed to collect and distribute money. No matter what form they set it up as, it's just a highly sophisticated mafia.

This is the internet quote of the day, if not the month. If people were ever to take this to heart, the changes afterward would be swift and merciless.

Fred Drinkwater said...

"When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators."
P. J. O'Rourke
Somehow, the obvious corollary to this escapes folks.

Original Mike said...

"The problem is less big government than it is BAD government,"

I believe the only kind of government there is is BAD government. I'm not aware of evidence to the contrary.